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Getting public sector ready is easier than you think

Beatrice Smith

In Canberra, everyone knows someone working in the public service.

In fact, some locals may only know people working in the public sector, so large is this segment of Canberra’s workforce.

But what some people don’t anticipate is how difficult it can be to get your foot in the door of the public sector as a school leaver, someone re-entering the workforce, or those transitioning careers. That’s why CIT Solutions have created the Public Sector Ready Program, aimed at upskilling people looking to enter the public sector.

Tanya Jones, Lead for the Creative, Communication and Engagement Group at CIT Solutions says that competition for public sector careers has increased in recent years.

“Getting your foot in the door is a lot more challenging than it used to be,” she explains. “This is about giving people an edge.”

CIT Solutions has been delivering training to the public service for 25 years, but this is the first time they’ve designed a course specifically to help people get their foot in the door.

“We heard from so many school leavers, university graduates, people returning to work or people who hadn’t gotten into the public service when they tried out for grad programs that we had to respond to this unexpected demand.”

The result is the Public Sector Ready Program.

“It’s designed to give people the skills to be able to be competitive in their applications to the public sector by giving them foundation knowledge, tips and tricks into finding a job and giving them some really good skills so they hit the ground running when they actually start the job.”

Delivered flexibly over a series of evening and weekend workshops, the program runs for 16 weeks and covers a variety of themes, starting with ‘what is the public service?’, finding the right job, applications and interview skills.

The program also includes a practical element, where participants will get the chance to practice their new skills (such as interview techniques) with teachers, giving them access to real-time feedback and a chance to allay any nerves.

“This program is actually curated and created by ex-public servants,” explains Tanya. ”And one of the things that we’re quite passionate about is that we’re not just telling you what you need to know, we’re helping you practice those skills as well.”

Once those skills are mastered, the course moves on to the tools participants will need once they land the job.

“The next theme is hitting the ground running with simulations about prioritising your workload—what do you do when you have too much on? What do you do when you have not enough on? So you might actually simulate a team meeting and the delegation that goes along with that as well as practicing working in teams.”

Tanya says that these exercises have been created through feedback from the public service departments and agencies CIT Solutions works closely with, creating realistic examples of how the public service works. There are also talks throughout the course from current public servants.

For the CIT Solutions team, it’s all about making what is implicitly valued by employers explicitly obvious to students, so they know what they’re striving for from the very beginning.

Finally, the course covers all the little things, from writing to customer service and even performance conversations so students are ready for anything that comes their way. To add to this, by completing the program you’re also taking the first steps towards a qualification.

“If you complete the program and do the work, you can get four units of competency towards a PSP40116 Certificate IV in Government. These foundation skillsets are essential wherever you’re working in the public service,” explains Tanya.

“Not only do you come out highly skilled and job ready, but you also have a statement of attainment. That makes you a little bit more competitive in the market too.”

Ready to get an edge on the competition in your public sector applications? The next program starts on 31 May at CIT’s Bruce Campus. You can find more information about the structure, course dates and fees via the CIT Solutions website.

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author